Monday, May 13, 2013

The Gender Police Strike Again (January 25, 2013)

By Kieran Slattery (Little Bug's sitter)
Today, Little Bug and I went to the Holyoke Children's Museum again, and had a great time. He slid down the slide, built ramps (large and small), sent boats through the water...

At any rate, toward the end of our trip, we wound up in the tot area, and he began playing with a four-year old girl - they were both jumping onto mats and doing somersaults, and he was having a blast. He was miming her actions and just being adorable, per usual.

At one point, she said, "Oh, can she do a jump like this?" 
And I smiled and said, "I'm not sure, you should ask him. Hey Bug, can you do a jump like that?"
And he responded, "YEAH!" 
So the girl shakes her head and vehemently replies, "Oh, NO. She's not a boy. She is a she." I politely corrected her, but she maintained that, indeed, "she" was a "she." She sputtered, "B-but...she..he...she has long hair!!" I, again, gently explained that boys could have long hair, too.

Finally, she went straight to the source, and faced him, demanding, "Are you a boy or a girl?" 
Little Bug, caught off guard, stammered, "I'm a...gir...boy! I'm a boy." 
She corrected him, saying, "No, you're not. You're a GIRL." 
Bug said firmly, "No. I'm a boy." They went back and forth for a few rounds, until our little guy, clearly exasperated and like, "Why the hell can't we just keep jumping and somersaulting? Why do we have to harping on this?" affirmed his gender for the umpteenth time and looked at me for backup. 
I said, "You're right, buddy. You're a boy." Trying to steer the conversation away from Bug, I smiled and teasingly said to her, "Are YOU a boy?" 
She looked at me like I was a moron and grabbed her earlobes, retorting, "No..I'm a girl...I have earrings, SEE?!" I nodded solemnly and thought it was a bad time to explain to her who George Michael was. (Oh - and then she points at us both and goes, "She's a girl, and you're a girl." Poor thing...I then had to explain that we were both boys. I thought she was going to explode with frustration). The upshot was that she finally walked away from us, settled into the rocking chair and surveyed us from afar, before returning and admitting, "Okay, you're right. I see now. He's a boy." and then: "Let's keep jumping!" 

I'm not sure what she "saw" that convinced her to finally accept Little Bug's gender, but I'd imagine it had something to do with the fact that she was sick of debating and really just wanted to keep playing with her new friend ; ) 

When we left, I scooped Bug up, gave him a huge hug and kiss and asked him if he was feeling okay and if he'd had a good time. His reply? "YEAH!" and then, "Kee-nan, I'm hungry. What kind of crackers you have for me?" 
I stopped worrying.

1 comment:

  1. So frustrating! I've had this conversation with adults about both of my boys when they were little.

    I ran into a work acquaintance in a restaurant once while I was in line and holding Henry, who was maybe a year old. She came over and did the typical baby-talk gush and told Henry what a beautiful little girl he was. I said "Thank you and, actually, he's a boy. His name is Henry." She corrected me! She said "Oh no! This is a beautiful little girl! Little boys don't have such long lashes and beautiful curly hair." I still can't wrap my brain around where exactly the compliment is in that statement. The temptation to drop his diaper and let him piddle on her salad was strong. But, you know, then I'M the inappropriate one. :)

    Good for you for the way you handled things. Especially the part about having crackers.